In an effort to strengthen security measures to ensure the safety of patients, visitors and staff, health care facilities are upping their security game with improved technologies and solutions.
Izvor: a&s International
The health care industry is one that crosses all borders, big and small, all over the world. The scope of these systems, however, can vary drastically from place to place. From a security standpoint, much like the availability of health care, the level of security used in health care facilities across the globe also varies immensely.
Theft and loss are major issues health care facilities are dealing with. To mitigate such occurrences, they must increase security measures, while at the same time adhere to regulations and stay within budgets, all while maintaining an open, welcoming atmosphere. However, preventing theft of high-value equipment, medications and even babies is driving the growth of RFID in the health care market, which is expected to reach over US$3.9 billion over the next seven years, growing at a CAGR of 24.7 percent from 2015 to 2022, according to a report by Grand View Research.
Theft, however, only plays one small part when considering the security needs of a health care facility. With markets around the world witnessing growth in the health care sector, security measures are also increasingly needed to secure, protect and help facilities properly adjust to the changing requirements that come with expansion.
TRENDS AND CHALLENGES
The challenges facing hospital security are complicated, ranging from workplace violence to wandering patients and abduction of infants, "Patients and visitors must feel welcomed and comfortable, yet safe and well protected," said Sheila Loy, Director of Healthcare Solutions
for Identity and Access Management in North America for HID Global. This means balancing security measures so that they are visible enough for patients and visitors to feel safe, but invisible enough for the environment to remain welcoming.
The open environment nature of hospitals is problematic from a security standpoint – hospitals are designed to be public spaces and cannot simply be locked down. As such, security measures must be able to recognize the different types of persons within the hospital, limiting access to certain areas while keeping other areas easily accessible.
This presents logistical challenges since health care facilities, particularly hospitals, are often large and spread out over a wide area. What this means for the security solution is the locks may need to integrate with fire detection, video surveillance and other systems. However, not all of these users are created equal, explained Thomas Schulz, Marketing and Communications Director of EMEA at ASSA ABLOY. "Medical staff, cleaners, patients and their visitors, and countless temporary and contract workers all need access tailored to their specific and very different needs," he said. "Labs with a steady flow of visitors and contractors are safer if access is managed with time-limited keys that can be revoked or revalidated when required."
Chad Parris, President of Security Risk Management Consultants, noted that "the synthetization process of security programs and more importantly the differing disparate technologies create significant challenges to security managers and directors’ intent on creating standard platforms across the enterprise".The result is a daunting, expensive and long-term challenge for those seeking to unify systems such as video and particularly access control, where organizations want to create a "one-card" solution for all facilities.
Yet, one-card solutions are now in demand. This opportunity to "do more with the card" was highlighted by Loy. "Hospitals can offer physicians, nurses and staff one card for accessing the emergency room and pharmacy, and for visual ID verification, time-and-attendance logging, payroll transactions, and cafeteria purchases. This simplifies life for cardholders while centralizing and streamlining management."
GROWTH DRIVERS BY REGION
What drives health care growth differs by region — this also goes for security growth. "The market for electronic health care security continues to grow in markets around the world, with different areas of concern in different regions," said Steve Elder, Senior Marketing Manager of Stanley Healthcare.
Growth drivers in developed countries with advanced health care facilities might be more related to upgrades and retrofits, whereas regions where health care is less advanced might see newer installs and different requirements.
Health Care in the U.S.
As the only developed nation without universal health care, the U.S. health care system has been undergoing major changes since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act in 2014. Parris explained, "In an effort to survive the continued rising costs and lower Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, no pays, and the Affordable Care Act, the trend is for health care organizations to merge with other like systems or to be swallowed up by larger regional health care systems."
In terms of regulations, health care facilities are required to meet certain standards. Loy said that a demanding regulatory environment shaped by numerous elements including legislations like HIPAA, which established US standards for privacy and security, impact hospital access control policies and procedures in the U.S.
"For instance, in California, hospitals must report any security breach event, after which the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) checks policies, practices, and audit trails, and executes inspections and assesses fines," she explained. "Often, hospital administrators must also follow federal guidelines established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that, at times, conflict with state rules and result in fines. Other entities that set security guidelines include the Joint Commission accreditation and certification body, which has oversight for physical building security, water, safety, fire, and other security processes, and the Det Norske Veritas (DNV), an independent foundation that works with health care authorities and providers to manage risk and improve health care delivery."
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